Thursday, August 23, 2012

North of the Border, Eh?

Tuesday we took a trip about hours North of here, across the border into Canada, to a little town called Cranbrook. Now Cranbrook is about an hour Northwest of the border in British Columbia. We have some friends that winter in Yuma at our park, and they spent last winter up north, so haven't seen them for a long while. We chat in emails every day, sometimes several times a day, but they are very nice folks and are well and resigned to make the trek south again this year. They live in a 2010 Tiffin Allegro Bus with their yellow lab Ziva. A very sweet motorcoach. I like them alot, but they are just too big for us. The scenery in Canada is beautiful just as it is here in Montana. We enjoyed the day with them, Jan fixed us a great lunch, they took us for a ride about and looked at their town. Lloyd is a retired bush pilot and big hunting guide in Canada and Alaska. He took us to his former hanger and airport, and we got to walk amongst the planes on the ground and in the building. His former mechanic now has the hanger and has spent many hours renovating a small plane from the ground up. While there, we were lucky enough to get to see a refurbished B17 Bomber that was on display, and there was several water tanker planes that are in the area due to all the forest fires. Here in Kalispell yesterday at our International Airport, there was an incident with a small plane making a landing after the landing gear fell off. Kalispell also has two large yellow and red water tanker planes that fly super low over a lake and take on water while still moving. They are super huge, and one can't imagine how they get that low, take on 2500 gallons of water and still get back up in the air! After the airport, we went to another town close by, Kimberly. It has a ski resort and a few golf courses. As we drove up to the resort, there was a big deer just relaxing by the side of the road! We ended up at the Dairy Queen for Ice cream before we said our good byes and started back to cross the border. That business always makes me a little nervous. The border crossing guard that afternoon asked where we were from. Then he asked where we were born!

DH said McCook, NE. and he said "so was I" .... We thought he was messing with us...but no....he still has relatives around there. It's such a small world. Today I had to go to the Verizon Store for my phone, and the clerk that waited on me was from Thedford Ne. He recognized my area code! We didn't get started back until 6 pm and that was later than I liked. All together we saw 26 deer along the roads and that made for a nervous trip. I really don't want to hit any more of them! Yesterday south of here we saw 4 deer and 4 turkeys. They're everywhere. We have one week left here now. Our weather is cooling down and the nights and early mornings are crisp! This Yak is the first animal we saw when we got back in the parking lot from the border crossing. He must be the official Greeter! KayCee is now an international dog! She went with us. I had her proof of rabies shot records and luck was with us, they didn't even ask to see it! They ask Danny if he was buying, selling or dropping anything off and I thought maybe he would tell them he would drop me off...but he didn't! The only purchase we made was at the Dairy Queen and we got change of a Canadian $5 bill. It was great to spend the day with our friends in Eh land and we will see them in Yuma if all goes well. They are going to be parked right next door to us at the Palms RV Resort. It will be a fun winter I'm sure. Lloyd likes to bike, and when they were there before Dan went on a couple of rides with him. I'm sure the girls will get together for some shopping and other activities.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fair Rodeo and Fun Week

We have had a busy week. KayCee spent another day at PBR Kennels. We attended the Northwest Montana Fair and PRCA Rodeo here at the Kalispell Fairgrounds. We wandered around the Barns and Displays. Discovered that their are goats with no ears! I have never seen this breed before. Looked at lots of the 4H Exhibits, and then Thursday night we attended the Championship PRCA Rodeo, which was lots of fun. There were quite a few World Class Cowboys in attendance, and the show kept our attention. During the half intermission, they had an Indian Relay Race on horseback. we had never seen that, but the young men ride bareback and complete a relay riding completely around the track on the outside of the rodeo arena. In the process, one rider jumped off and missed his remount and that horse took off around the track riderless....for two laps. that horse actually won! They had Clydesdales and other Belgians and other work class horses pulling sleds. it was a great rodeo, for a small venue. We spent another afternoon browsing in some shops and drove to Bigfork and down by Swan Lake and looked at the wheat fields being harvested. Our weather has been chilly in the mornings, but warming in the afternoons. This is a magnificent valley and the views are wonderful. I was glad to get the call from the two girls that were hiking in Glacier for the week, they called us and we picked them up on Saturday evening and went out for a bite to eat. They had a great hiking experience, and although made a slight navigation error and ended the hike a day early, they really had a good time. No bear sightings and no problems. Since they couldn't fly with the bear spray that they took for protection, they left that with us. Leaving their big packs in the car, we sat around and visited and convinced them it would be easier and quicker if they camped out on our floor! I got up and drove them to the airport at 5:00 this morning so they could catch seperate flights, one bound for Atlanta and one bound for Austin! It's the meeting of all these interesting people that makes this life of ours extra special. I'm sure it has been a trip made of memories that they'll never forget and they can return to work and school with smiles and refreshed minds. I was very glad to help them out a little bit, and they had some interesting stories.  A good time was had by all and I did get back to sleep when I got home! We are bound for Libby Montana in the morning, a direction that we haven't been either time up here. Still trying to get everything in before we have to leave at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to our trek East, but hoping that the weather in the middle of the country decides to calm down and get mild.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shuttle Butt

We started the day by delivering the fur kid to Day Camp at our favorite here in Kalispell - PBR Kennels. They have made great improvements since we were here the last time and its a great place to board your dogs, whether it's for a day or a week. The owner's name is Linda and she is very caring and great with animals!

The ride up the highway to Glacier National Park is never complete without a few stops along the way. We turned into a few RV Parks just to check them out. Some would work, but they are quite a ways from Kalispell and the phone and internet doesn't seem strong. We have 4G Verizon service here and I'm getting really spoiled with the speed and connections.

We stopped at the Huckleberry Patch since the Hucks are ripe and they are famous for all the souveneers, jellys, candies and other things made with Huckleberries. They have a cafe also and we had to have a little breakfast. Pancakes and DH had a slice of Huckleberry pie! Really sweet and locally grown, once a year is a plenty. Bears seem to like them too!

The road into Glacier was already lined with cars and we had a little wait, but having an annual National Parks Pass made our entry quick and smooth. We continued to Apgar Village and after hearing of the road construction and vehicle delays, we opted to park and take the free shuttle up to Logan pass and back. Saves your vehicle from damage or dirt and you are free to look about and get off and on at the several stops along the way. It took us almost 5 hours to complete the trip. It was a hazy day, so our pictures, while of awesome sights, could have been better.

We met some very cool people. Two college girls from Atlanta and Austin, who were taking a break before returning to work and school, were hiking into the back country and camping for the whole week! My hat is off to them. They did this last year in Alaska also, but I would not be brave enough, even with another person to tent camp in the wilderness during bear season! I gave them our card and told them if they needed  a ride or a place to crash before they catch their planes from here Sunday Morning, to call. We shall see. The stories will be very cool!

We also met an Australian man and his wife and young daughter, who are here on a 6 month holiday. They bought a class C RV in Las Vegas (as it is just as cheap to buy as rent) and he will sell it at the end of their whirlwind around the U.S. They are fascinating, have great stories and it's really fun to witness someone here for the first time. They are having a ball. Hopefully I will hear from them again also.

At the top of Logan pass, we took a stroll, stretched our legs a bit, and were going to go on a small hike down to the Hidden lake, but they had the trail closed due to bear activity. We went as far as the observation deck and turned around. We never saw anything larger than a ground squirel! But I'm told it was a Columbian Ground Squirrel!

We boarded two more shuttles to make it back to the staging area and our car. It was late afternoon, and time for a lunch, so we drove through Apgar Village, found the same picnic area at Mcdonald Lake and the same table to have our lunch that we used two years ago. It was fairly late in the day, so we checked out the beach and the water and headed back to the city. Our fur kid was very happy to see us and we were ready to relax and rest up. Today we had mundane daily tasks to do and tomorrow depending on the weather we may go visit some galleries and a couple shops. As I write this tonight, the wind has come up and we are in line for some rain. The temps are to be cool tomorrow and more chance of rain.....oh I hope so! We've almost been able to count the drops this whole year.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Ride

Was going to head to the West and take a jaunt to Libby, but decided to let the Vacationers have the road today. We hung around the valley and had a lazy day. We started out down by Flathead Lake, then across to hwy 35 to Big Fork to pick up another, probably the last bag of cherries for the season. We veered off the main road and headed for Blaine and Strawberry lake. We didn't even get out of the city limits of Creston and came across this fella helping himself to abundent Huckleberries on the bush! He was very close to the road at first and just watched me. Then by the time I had the camera ready he just turned around and kept on eating! They are sooooo cooollll! I love bears! We continued on our way, and before we got back into Kalispell, witnessed the beginning of wheat harvest here in the valley. Then on the way up our road, we have noticed that the hay has been cut. Now today they are baling. Small squares in one field and big rounds right next to it. The Flathead River looks down to me a little. An island in the middle and lots of beach on the sides. We mosied back home to watch some more of the Olympics and have a home made speghetti supper. The Dish Network Technician that came and worked on our system yesterday was awesome. He got us up and running with an entire new set up. A Hopper and Joey to run all of our TVs. It will take some getting used to and oh yes, another learning experience! Monday we will venture up to Glacier where I hope to have more Bear sightings!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ain't No Place Like Montana!

This is our 5th day here in Kalispell Montana. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful this place is. We said goodbye to a couple of new friends in Washington. Some places are harder to leave than others, and I had trouble leaving that one. Traveling East on I 90 through Spokane. We did a 300 mile day through the tip of Idaho, and stopped in Missoula for the night. Up and going the next morning, we headed north up 93, stopping to see an awesome view of the Flathead. Nothing compares to topping the hill and laying eyes on Flathead Lake in the distance!On the way up the road, we stopped again because its Cherry season around here, and we needed Flathead Cherries to snack on right away! Yummy. The best cherries I have ever tasted.
 Our first night we had a wonderful short visit and dinner outing with Jim and Sandie, Escapee friends, that were staying in this park, getting ready to depart the next morning.We have taken some drives and ran around town getting reaquainted with where things are. Drove down the East side Flathead lake to a Cherry distributing facility. Bought a case of canned Cherries to have for the winter and drove down to Swan Lake yesterday in search of wildlife. We had lunch in a National Forest in Grizzly country, but didn't happen across any Grizzlies! Last year we saw a black bear in the ditch on the way to Swan Lake on the same highway. We did see a Doe with a spotted fawn, a peacock and some ground squirrels, so was not a wasted trip. The waters in the lakes are vivid blue. the trees are all so vivid green. That's the one thing about this valley that sticks in my memory, the brightness of the colors and the clean crisp air. It's easy to be here. This morning we headed south to Lakeside about 9:30 to partake in the early morning sights at the Lakeside Annual Antique and Classic Boat Show, We missed it last trip, and I read about it in a magazine. There's different classes of woodies..depending on when they were built. As we strolled around the docks, we visited with some great boat owners, they all have good stories and are very proud of their boats! There's some great activities to those attending, and tents and presentations by the sponsors. I liked several boats, one was built the year I was born...another was just recently built and I'm sure we couldn't afford that one. One was electric and had a green top and another was built with cherry wood. The Flathead Valley has a Montana Wooden Boat foundation, a non profit organization founded by wooden boat enthusiasts, boat builders, educators, business execs and cummunity leaders to engage and educate people of all ages about traditional wood boats, boat building and the wooden boating experience in general. It is to provide a hands on educational experience designed to help young people gain self confidence, skills and discipline needed to realize their full potential and become productive members of the community. They were raffling off two boats that the kids had built.  We had a great morning. As the sun sets tonight, I am planning another outing to visit a couple of Galleries of a Wood Carver, and the Models of  Log Homes that are being built from the ground up on the south end of town. Stay Tuned. More Nice weather on tap for the entire week ahead. I can't ask for a better August so far.